Bishops stress religious freedom to re-elected Obama

Congratulating the re-elected President Barack Obama, the president of the United States Catholic Bishops’ Conference has emphasised that the bishops “will continue to stand in defence of life, marriage, and our first, most cherished, liberty, religious freedom”.

“The Catholic bishops of the United States offer our prayers that God will give you strength and wisdom to meeting the difficult challenges that face America,” wrote Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York.

“In particular, we pray that you will exercise your office to pursue the common good, especially in care of the most vulnerable among us, including the unborn, the poor, and the immigrant.”

Over the past year the bishops have opposed the Obama administration particularly over a Department of Health and Human Services mandate requiring coverage of contraceptive services in health insurance plans. They portrayed this as infringing the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom.

The importance of religious freedom was also emphasised in Pope Benedict XVI’s message to President Obama. The Pope also said he hoped the American founding ideals of freedom and justice would hold a prominent place in the nation’s future.

According to exit polls conducted by CNN, 50 per cent of voters who identified themselves as Catholics voted for Obama, and 48 per cent for his Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Protestant voters were heavily in favour of Romney, with 57 per cent choosing the Republican and only 42 per cent voting for Obama.

Among voters who said they had no religious affiliation, Obama was the overwhelming favorite, with a 70-26 per cent advantage.

The chairman of the Catholic bishops’ subcommittee to defend marriage, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, said election day was a disappointing one for marriage.

Voters in Maine and Maryland approved measures legalising same-sex marriage, and a similar measure appeared likely to pass in Washington state. Minnesotan voters rejected an amendment to define marriage as only between a man and woman.

Maryland and Washington voters upheld laws permitting same-sex marriage that were passed earlier in the year.


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Image: Straits Times

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